Is Russell Wilson trying too hard? Mike Florio, Chris Simms discuss originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Nothing has gone as planned for Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos this season.
The 2-5 Broncos have the league’s worst scoring offense at 14.3 points per game. The former Seattle Seahawks quarterback is 25th in passer rating, behind the likes of Carson Wentz, Davis Mills and his successor, Geno Smith. And off the field, Wilson has made an even bigger joke of the struggles with his Subway commercials and corny catchphrase.
After missing the Broncos’ Week 7 loss with a hamstring injury, Wilson is poised to return for this Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
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But, as only Mr. Unlimited can do, Wilson publicized his injury recovery to the media on Wednesday. He told reporters that he worked out for four of the eight hours on the plane ride to England, doing high knees in the aisle while his teammates slept.
NBC Sports analysts Mike Florio and Chris Simms discussed the Wilson situation on Thursday’s edition of “PFT Live.”
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“He didn’t have to wedge all that (information) in there,” Florio said of Wilson’s quote. “There wasn’t an interrogation of what he did for the first hour on the plane, for the second hour on the plane, for hour three. He just launched into that, talking about himself.”
Simms, a former NFL quarterback, dove further into how Wilson’s antics might be perceived by his teammates.
“It’s kind of breaking the man code,” Simms said. “I guarantee people in the locker room just wish he would shut up and go play football. Throw a touchdown and then tell us about your high knees on the plane. There’s a point here you have to play if you want to be that guy. When you’re not playing good, no one wants to hear that crap.”
Since Wilson arrived in Denver, Simms and Florio believe that he’s been trying to craft his own narrative – and the latest injury and plane news is just another example.
“It’s all part of the damage control and changing the perception,” Simms said about the injury news leaking. “To your point, people just don’t want to hear it. The way it’s happened is certainly going to have people in the locker room wondering what you are.
“There’s guys in that locker room that play middle linebacker or defensive tackle, and trust me, they don’t feel like a spring chicken. They don’t feel good right now, they’re beat up and they’re not getting the excuse factor. It’s part of the bylaws of the NFL locker room. Don’t make excuses. Can you play? Then shut up and play. If you’re good enough to be out there, we don’t want to hear about a little ding here and there.
“Russell Wilson’s got to start playing better. Period. He’s definitely the biggest issue with the team right now. His play has added to everybody being scrutinized even more. He’s had some people pile on him, but I don’t think he’s helping himself out.”
Florio looked back to Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells and his philosophy on injuries, which the PFT writer believes Wilson would be wise to adopt.
“There is something off here as it relates to the effort to make sure that everyone knows about the injury,” Florio said. “Because then if you stink, that’s your excuse, he’s heroic, he tried to play through the injury. If you play well, you’re a hero because you’re like Willis Reed, you overcome the injury.
“The Bill Parcells attitude toward this is just don’t talk about this stuff at all. If you talk about it at all, you’re separating yourself from the team, you’re putting yourself above the team. You’re either saying … ‘Here's my excuse for not playing well or here’s why you should worship me even more because I overcame that injury.’
“He’s trying too hard. Just yesterday, all smiles. Nobody with the Broncos should be all smiles right now. You’re playing in London, but who cares? You’re 2-5, who cares where you’re playing the game. There’s nothing to be happy about, there’s nothing to be smiling about. You’re 2-5 and you’re staring at 2-6.”
Wilson and the Broncos will try to earn a smile on Sunday against the 2-5 Jaguars at Wembley Stadium, with kickoff set for 9:30 a.m. ET.